The perfect omni-tool.

The Tourist.

One of Monte’s vast array of swiss army knives is missing.  Probably in a bilge, or perhaps at the bottom of a cove.  So we ordered another, which arrived today.  Did you know that there are about 100 different models of swiss army knives, with different combos and numbers of gadgets attached?  This one is called The Tourist.  Upon opening the box, Monte declared it the “perfect” swiss army knife.  So, go get you one!

You have to check out this one though:    Monte doesn’t have *it* yet.  🙂


Our friend John has been working in the shop all week on a desk for a client.  Monte’s been out there making tables.  It is a magnificent shop, if i must say so myself. 🙂

The material that John is using to make the desk sides and top is a plywood made out of bamboo, called plyboo.  Pretty cool looking.

Green & black denier.


I drove down to Julie’s apartment this morning to pick her up so that we could spend the day together.  We came back home and watched a bit of the boat parade for the Queen’s Jubilee celebration on BBC America.  Before too long we were at the marina.  Lots of the usual B-dock suspects showed up at some point.  We saw Marty, Sue, Joe, Kurt, Wally, Kevin, Robert, Tasha, Jay, Mike, and Dave.  Summer is here!  But the day was pretty overcast.  We put up the shade and floated for most of the afternoon.

Afterwards we opted for dinner at Jardin Corona and then we deposited Julie back home.

Twas a nice day.

The shot above is a swatch of my official “bound-for-the-lake” backpack.

A simple fix.

My Harmony One.

We’ve owned a Harmony One programmable universal remote control for almost 4 years.  A few months ago it went on the fritz.  It would reboot itself randomly, making it impossible to use, because it would forget the state of the devices it was supposed to control between reboots.

So, it has been sitting in the closet gathering dust.   In the mean time, we’ve had to dig out and relearn how to use the multiple remote controls that it was intended to replace.

I was just about ready to buy a new one on Amazon today, when I thought to google for any known issues and recommended fixes.

Turns out that a common problem with the Harmony One is that the battery, after a year or two, can become a tad loose inside the remote, and if that happens, the battery’s contacts with the remote can be disrupted as it is moved around.   When that happens, the remote reboots itself.  The “fix” is to put a small piece of thick paper, like from an index card, under the battery to take up any slack.  Voila!

We are back in business!!   I ♥ my Harmony One  🙂

Good advice.


“And we must study through reading, listening, discussing, observing and thinking. We must not neglect any one of those ways of study.  The trouble with most of us is that we fall down on the latter — thinking — because it’s hard work for people to think.  And, as Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler said recently, ‘all of the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think.'”

                    — Thomas J. Watson, 1915 (audio)

IBM founder Thomas J. Watson was an inspiring figure and entrepreneur.  He introduced the “THINK” slogan in the early days of the company to motivate and inspire IBMers.  It was the first US trademark registered by IBM.  Over the century, this one-word slogan has adorned IBM buildings, publications, ads and presentations.  Back in the day, IBMers carried around small, leatherbound THINK note pads to capture great thoughts and ideas.

The original ThinkPad.

Those little notebooks later inspired the name of the IBM ThinkPad line of laptops in the 1990s.  I’ve always thought that was clever.  I think TJ Watson would, too.

Before I punch out…

IBM 016 Electrical Duplicating Keypunch - 1929.

Just a quick post before “punching out” for the night.   The meetings I’m attending this week are at an IBM facility.   IBM celebrated 100 years of innovation in 2011.   Let’s hope the next 100 are as impact-ful.  These and other former state-of-the-art artifacts grace the lobby.  The placard for this one says:

IBM 016 Electrical Duplicating Keypunch.  The development of automatic feeding and ejecting mechanisms for keypunches and duplicators helped to increase the speed of key punching and reduce operator fatigue.  The Type 016, introduced in 1929, fed cards into the punching unit and automatically removed or ejected the cards after punching.  It was withdrawn from marketing in 1960.

This one’s even older.   Not electric.  Notice the hand crank.

IBM 501 Automatic Numbering Gang Punch - 1926.

And it says:

IBM 501 Automatic Numbering Gang Punch. Brought to market in 1926, the Type 501 automatically recorded on a series of punched cards common fixed data from a master card. This punch operated at the rate of 125 cards per minute, and was withdrawn from marketing in April 1948.

I guess progress is always relative to where you’ve been…


Monday of VACATION for Sheila!  Today Lori played hooky, and we hit the San Marcos Outlet Malls (north and south).  We showed up before the stores even opened!   It was awesome.  We had the entire place to ourselves (almost).   I don’t do this very often – i think the last time I made it down here was 2 years ago.   But when I do go, i like to perform a surgical strike on only the stores I am interested in seeing.  No leisurely windowshopping for me.  I expect a call any time now from my credit card company asking if my card has been stolen.

We cleaned up!   I ran into Santa and he gave me some of the presents he got for monte – said it would save him a trip.

I also (finally!) found an area rug to replace the one in the game room that is showing lots of wear and tear.   I don’t enjoy shopping for rugs.  They all look the same, and nothing ever grabs me.   This time, i found one – at the Pottery Barn outlet.  The price was right… AND it fit in Lori’s car, so, even better.

Once I put it on the floor I decided that now we need a new couch, chair and ottoman to go with it.  🙂


The waiting is the hardest part.


If you know me at all, you know that I take my time making up my mind about some things, but once I do, I’m committed (and very impatient).  Well, I’ve recently decided that I needed a new device.  Something that I can use for my personal computer things… internet browsing, apps, iTunes, photo editing, blogging, music editing, geneology research, data storage, etc.   So I embarked on a long period of researching my options – no impulse buying here.  So, I checked out the iPad.  Not really what I was looking for, it’s really more of a glorified client device that needs to sync to a PC (or now the iCloud).  I guess I need a traditional laptop kind of computer.   So I had to decide between PC and Mac.   I opted for Mac.  Mac Book Pro to be specific.   In researching it, and the OS underneath i was pleasantly surprised to learn about Mac OS X Lion and its features.

I decided on the 15″ Mac Book Pro.  But I wanted to add some custom features (8GB Mem, faster Hard Drive, anti-glare monitor, etc) that you cannot get by walking into the Apple Store.  Which meant that I had to order it online.

Soooo, i did.  And i’ve been (not) patiently waiting for it to be delivered for over a week.   The target delivery date was today.  The nice people at Apple sent me the tracking info so that I could watch the progress of my new toy make its way from China to my front door via FedEx.  That means with the click of a mouse I can go out to FedEx and see the status of my package delivery… which I’ve done about 10 times a day since last week!  The package was picked up by Fed Ex and then sat at the FedEx place in Shanghai for about 3 1/2 days… excruciating!… and then when it finally got to the continent, it sat in Anchorage for over a day.  Ugh!   Well, as of this morning it is in Austin, on a truck, out for delivery (YAY!).

You guys all drive careful out there, around those FedEx delivery trucks today, allright?!

More later.  (oh and here’s a youtube link to a song that comes to mind as I pen this post.)

My country for a decent vacuum!

Me likey.

We have three (3) upright vacuums from different decades in vacuum cleaner history.  They are old, in various states of disrepair.  Each has its issues… doesn’t suck (in this case, sucking is good), difficult to maneuver, weighs a ton, louder than a jet engine, etc, etc.  We’ve been schlepping these vacuums around since we combined our households. They have done their share of cleaning up remodel debris, sheet rock dust, etc, etc.  As of late we don’t even use them.  But we can’t seem to part with them.

So, we have resorted to alternative devices… the Roomba, which works pretty well, but I spend as much time watching it vacuum for me as I would have if I had done the vacuuming myself.  So much for being a time saver.  Lately we have resorted to using the shop vac in the house.  A bit of overkill, but at least it cleans.  And the hearing protectors we wear while using it make quite the fashion statement.

Today I decided it was time to get a new vacuum cleaner.  A good one that will work really well (hopefully) and last a long time.  So I logged on to Consumer Reports to do some research.  Turns out the highest overall rated one (which also has the best rating for noise) is a Kenmore canister vac.  Hmmm.  Sears? I  haven’t shopped at a Sears in a looooong time.  I don’t even like the idea of going into a Sears store.  But I was determined to buy that vacuum.

So…. I did.  And I even bought a bunch of other stuff I found there that I would usually go to a Bed Bath and Beyond for.  Note to self: Sears is alright!  I’ll probably be back again when I want other housewares stuff.

It only took me a few minutes to put the vacuum together.  I’ve used it now for about 30 minutes.  My first impression: I love it!  It is very quiet, can do wood floors w/o the beater bar, or carpets w/ the beater bar, lots of good attachments, even one designed to clean ceiling fan blades –  haven’t tried that one yet to see if i can do it from the floor, so we’ll see.

So, now I’m off to play domestic goddess for a bit this afternoon.  But, let me leave you with this…. a shopping cart with a cupholder… what will they think of next?

Jun 2, 2011

Feelin' a little girlie.

Today started out with a 7AM tooth drilling at the dentist that made my head hurt the rest of the day.

I decided to end it with a manicure at the salon.   I should do this more often.

Monte roasted up a delicious chicken for dinner.  Yum!!

The day definitely ended better than it started.

May 25, 2011


Tonight we went for a walk with our neighbors and the Austin Parks & Recreation Department through the city park adjoining our neighborhood.  The City wants to turn it into an off-leash dog park.  So we’re all getting ready to take a position on whether we want that in our backyards or not.

Afterwards we went out for dinner.  This is a shot of a custom wood wall covering that looked very cool, right above our table… taken with my not-high-tech cell phone.


May 21, 2011


This is the Ha Tu Ba Di memorial totem pole,  carved by Makah Nation artist Frank Smith.  It honors a man who worked to conserve tribal artifacts.

It’s located on the waterfront in Port Orchard.  In the background is south end of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Apr 23, 2011

On the fence.

The other day I got out my SLR camera.  A nice Nikon FM10 that Monte gave me a number of years ago.  Everything on it is manual, and it’s a great camera for people to learn about the mechanics of taking photos.   It was the only camera that we brought with us on our honeymoon and we got fantastic photos.

I took it in to get developed today.  Here’s one pic from the roll.

%d bloggers like this: